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Leading listed maritime transportation companies in Japan FY 2019, by sales value

In fiscal year 2019, NYK Line was the leading maritime transportation company in Japan in terms of sales, amounting to approximately 1.67 billion Japanese yen. NYK Line, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, and "K" Line are referred to as 'The Big Three’ maritime transport companies in Japan. However, these three companies share more than their sheer size.

Alliances in the world of container shipping

Due to ever-growing market competition, strategic alliances have become common in the world of maritime shipping. In 2017, ‘The Big Three’ established the Singaporean joint venture Ocean Network Express Pte. Ltd. (ONE) and its Japanese holding company by merging their container shipping businesses and overseas terminal operations. This move raised their rank within the world liner fleet. Via ONE, ‘The Big Three’ are part of 'THE Alliance', further including Hapag-Lloyd, Yang Ming, and Hyundai Merchant Marine. ‘THE Alliance’ stands for ‘Transport High-Efficiency Alliance’, hinting at the benefits of such cooperation: shippers share routes and resources around the globe and, hence, profit from economies of scope and scale. In essence, this means that they can offer even lower prices per container, which introduction has already reduced costs considerably. The other two major container alliances are M2 (Maersk Line and Maritime Shipping Co.) and Ocean Alliance (CMA CGM, Cosco Shipping, and Evergreen Line). 

Alliances for tackling green shipping

The International Maritime Organization has set a target to cut global greenhouse gas emissions of maritime shipping by half until 2050 compared to 2008, putting pressure on the industry - even more so since the IMO implemented stricter emission regulations in 2020. Therefore, Japanese shippers and shipbuilders have been working on technological solutions to reduce emissions.
One of these strategies is to switch from conventional marine fuel to liquefied natural gas. The exhausts of this gas mixture are cleaner and, if some of LNG’s methane fraction does not leak, contain less greenhouse gas. Not only do ships need a suitable engine, but LNG vessels also need a proper infrastructure in place. Therefore, companies like NYK Line, “K” Line, Toyota, and Sumitomo have joined forces with government-related companies and founded Central LNG Shipping Japan Corporation and Ecobunker Shipping Corporation. Technologically, the young joint ventures specialize in ship-to-ship bunkering, the first time conducted in Japan in October 2020 with an NYK car and truck carrier. 

Leading listed maritime transportation companies in Japan in fiscal year 2019, by sales value

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Release date

October 2020



Survey time period

fiscal year 2019; the fiscal year starts on April 1 of the stated year and ends on March 31 of the following year

Supplementary notes

One Japanese yen equals 0.0096 U.S. dollars or 0.0079 euros as of February 2021.
Values have been rounded.

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Statistics on "Maritime transportation in Japan"

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